Tour Diary: Ex Friends (Joel Tannenbaum) – Update # 2

It’s time for the second tour diary installment from Philadelphia punk act Ex Friends as they work their way across the east coast. Check out the the latest from singer Joel Tannenbaum below.

“Boring computer problems prevented me from filing for the last few days. They were magically fixed yesterday at an Apple Store in a giant mall in Durham, NC. The guy at the Genius Bar who fixed them turned out to be the guitarist for a contemporary country singer whose name escapes me. Our conversation caught on with the other, older Genius Bar customers, who lamented that their kids listen to shitty new country music with vocoders, etc, like Luke Bryan, and why won’t they class it up a little and check out Waylon Jennings, etc. Me and the Genius Bar guy agreed and appeared wise beyond our years. It was cool.

On the minus side, I’m typing this in an Atlanta suburb and the temperature outside is 6 degrees. And I don’t mean celsius, bro. A cold snap overran Georgia and South Carolina, apparently pretty much out of nowhere. People really don’t know what to do about that down here, through no real fault of their own. I just saw a thing on the news about how to make sure your kid doesn’t get hypothermia.

Oh yeah, I forgot, this is supposed to be about punk music. Here are some highlights of the last few days:

Washington DC:
Comet Ping Pong, as its name suggests, is a bar where grown adults can play ping pong. Sometimes they fold up the tables and move them out of the way and let DIY punk bands play. They were nice to us and gave us pizza. I got to meet the guy who does the Dixie Punk DC website. We got to stay in a house with a giant bathtub. We played with Boardroom Heroes, who were excellent and should be opening for the Menzingers or something.

Durham, NC:
So far Durham is the clear winner. Everyone was crazy friendly and they gave me a salad in a cardboard Chinese food container. We got a soundcheck. People bought stuff. Probably the most interesting part, however, was when the band that played second, average age around 18, got a little out of control. The singer called someone in the crowd a “fucking faggot” or something to that effect. You could hear the proverbial record scratch. The soundguy cut his mic. People walked away from the stage like the band was a vial of mercury and – and this is the part I was really impressed by – the band basically had to run a gauntlet as they got off stage of people telling them that their behavior was not acceptable. Some were polite about it, some less so, but the point is that I watched Durham punks of all ages articulate and enforce community standards in a way that was clear and constructive. That doesn’t make up for anyone who was made to feel shitty by this little blast of public hate speech, but it does mean that lessons were learned and mistakes are less likely to be repeated. It was cool.
The next morning I went for a walk and got super lost but it was worth it because I found the best coffee shop in the universe.

Oh, and we played Awkward Friends’ first show. They were great. You will be hearing from them.

Atlanta, GA
We weren’t expecting much from Atlanta, it being a Monday night with record-setting cold temperatures, but we were surprised. An amazing band called Ganges Phalanges opened the show. Seriously, picture “Nervous Breakdown”-era Black Flag fronted by Penelope from the Avengers. All the bands were solid and the crowd wasn’t giant but they went crazy. Granted, I’m not sure how much of the show they’ll remember, but still.

Something I’ve noticed about this tour so far: Jayme keeps getting cornered after each show by nerdy dudes who grill him about his pedal board setup. Audrey keeps getting cornered by people who want to talk to her about her crazy bass parts. Considering how long these two have been at it, and how talented they are and how hard they work, this kind of thing is overdue. Yay tour.”

Stay tuned for more updates and make sure to catch Ex Friends on tour if they come near your town! Here are the dates…

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